Solomon shifted uncomfortably, the doors of the gym looming in front of him. It was a feeling that he had a most difficult time describing. That had happened a few times in the last couple of hours. He can’t remember having ever felt this way before, at least not for a long time now. It seemed like these feelings of childhood had come flooding back. Finally admitting it to himself, it was trepidation; the feeling he had been so hesitant to define. People had died going up against this gym leader, he swore to himself that he would not be the next. Yet, he held. Firmly in place he stood. Feet planted to the earth, unmoving. His pokemon were healed, well trained and ready, but he wasn’t. It was the first time he felt doubt since coming into this world, and he didn’t like it.
“Hey, did you hear about route 31,” a stranger walked by, speaking excitedly with his companion. “Supposedly, the whole thing is up in flames.”
“You’re joking, right?” The other answered him.
“Nah, dead serious. Nobody knows how, but the whole thing went and flared up. It’s crazy.”
These words pierced the shell of Solomon’s solitude. His focus being entirely on the gym, he failed to notice the ominous, orange glow to the east. Was this even possible? There had been no fires in the games, at least not to his knowledge and he considered his knowledge to be quite extensive. His feet finally moved, but not towards the gym, away from it. Like a moth, he found himself spirited away to the flames. His eyes refusing to believe the sight, yet he couldn’t stop himself. It grew even worse when he finally arrived to see it in all its scope.
Pokemon scattered from the fire's lifeless wrath, enveloping shrubs and trees like the tinder they were. A Bellsprout scurried for its life, dashing through the brush to try and make its escape. It proved to be to no avail. The slow weed was quickly corned and ravaged by the fast moving flames. Solomon watched helplessly as the Pokemon quickly turned red and erupted into data shards. “Just like after a battle,” he whispered to himself, deep in thought. So the fire was capable of not only doing damage, but destroying things entirely. It looked as if other trainers in the area were attempting to put out the fire. Desperately using their water Pokemon to try and stem the flame. Solomon thought it silly and pointless. They could never dream of being successful. With that thought, he turned from the scene. Something in the fire spoke to him. The way it continued without hesitation or letup. Its force, ravenous power and determination. It renewed in him his zeal and fixed his confidence.
It was time to challenge the gym.